Industry sector:

Driveways and patios: Telecommunications

Your business will need at least one telephone line to receive customers' enquiries, to contact suppliers and so on. This might be your home telephone, an additional line in your home or perhaps a business line at your premises. Or it might be a mobile phone. You could decide to advertise both a land line number and a mobile number (potential customers may be understandably reluctant to use a business that only advertises a mobile number). You will also need internet access and email. A website is an excellent way to advertise your business to potential customers.

Make it as easy as possible for people to contact you. For example, if you will be the only person in the business and you will be spending most of the working day at your customers' homes and premises it's wise to keep a mobile phone with you at all times. Make sure that it's always charged, and always on. Be sure that business calls are always answered courteously and professionally. Think about what will happen to unanswered calls to both your mobile and your home or office number (if you advertise it). Always get back promptly to customers who have left a message.

If you advertise an email address, be sure to always answer email messages promptly.

If you decide to operate your own telesales force then you are likely to need several telephone lines and perhaps some switchboard hardware.

The telephone company will bill you every month or quarter for the calls you have made, often plus an amount for the line rental for the next quarter.

Various packages and discount structures are available to business users which can help to reduce telecommunications costs. Contact your telephone company's customer services department for details.

If you intend to use a single home telephone line for both domestic and business use, estimate how much your normal telephone bill is likely to increase by.